We here at LOGNET had the privilege to try out a preview build for the upcoming indie retro-inspired action-adventure title, Infernax. The game comes from the creators of Just Shapes & Beats, Berzerk Studios. Check out our full first impression and release date announcement below.
Infernax follows a famous knight, Duke Alcedor, as he returns home from battle. He finds his homeland decimated by the hands of unholy magic. The Duke is tasked to find the source of this evil manifestation and put an end to it once and for all.
At its core, Infernax is a side-scrolling adventure title in the vein of old-school Castlevania and Metroid games. The game harkens back to a time when gaming was a simpler state. But don’t let that first look deceive you. Although its retro graphics and art style suggest simplicity, surprisingly, the game offers a lot of depth.
Open World Design
After liberating the first town in Infernax, you get a taste of things to come. The game is an open world where you fight evil monsters. You’ll also accumulate XP and gold coins. The latter of which you can use at stores. Alcedor can buy items like health and chainmail armor to help you survive the monstrosities in the field. To add, the Duke can also pick up some sidequests from residents in town. The ones in the preview were fairly straightforward. Kill this demon or retrieve this item and you complete side quests. My instinct tells me side quests will be expanded upon the more Alcedor ventures deeper into his adventure.
Infernax takes some cues from Souls-type games. There are shrines where Alcedor can pray to restore his health and save his progress. As expected, it also respawns enemies around you. These shrines are also where you can upgrade the Duke’s abilities. As mentioned before, it’s at shrines where you can put your XP to use. Players can upgrade their Strength, Health and Mana. Pretty simple upgrade system overall, but meaningful as you really felt the difference in-game.
Infermax’s Bloody Demeanor
If there’s one thing that stood out like a sore thumb is the Infernax’s use of blood and gore. Again, don’t let the retro graphics deceive you. The game is as gory and bloody as they come. Mutilated corpses hanging on crucifixes, bursting intestines, it’s all there in Infernax. In fact, you get greeted by this almost immediately in the game preview.
Early on, the Duke comes across a troubled-looking peasant. He begs Alcedor to spare him from his pain and end his life quickly. It’s here, the game lets you choose to kill the poor peasant or pray for his soul. Naturally, I was curious about the first decision I had to make and chose to pray for the poor peasant’s soul to see what would happen. And sure enough, I was not disappointed.
The peasant’s abdomen burst open and from it emerged a grotesque creature from the stuff that nightmares are made of. This was the first boss fight in the game. But it turns out it is completely optional. It appears the game will open up more decisions for your to make down the road. The developers made it clear that player-driven choices matter in the game. I got a taste of that very early on in the preview build.
The creature’s revolting appearance stood out to me. Its disgusting torn skin was held together by staples and stakes. Needless to say, the appearances of the game’s first potential monstrous boss fights left a burning image in my mind. The pixelated stills, like the one above, helped break away from Infernax’s typical retro-style graphics. It definitely added some much-needed style to the game’s overall aesthetics.
Infernax Gameplay Impressions
Let’s not beat around the bush, Infernax is a punishing experience. The game’s challenging enemies will likely get under your skin. But, if the enemies don’t get you, the environment will. Expect to dodge incoming projectiles from all angles. Similar to other retro games, if you miss your jump, you’ll die immediately. Like games from the 8 and 16-bit eras, you will have to manage a limited amount of lives. Once they’re spent, it’s game over. However, perseverance from a tough fight is a reward on its own.
And I must say, defeating an enemy or turning in a side quest that took a lot out of me was completely justified. However, if you feel it gets too much, Infernax will present you with options. You can tone down the difficulty with casual difficulty. Or, if you’re feeling raunchy, you can set it to max hardcore difficulty. Luckily, the game reverts you back to the last shrine you saved. So, you won’t miss out on too much progress, Again, similar to most Souls-type titles, but with the caveat of limited lives similar to games back in the day.
There wasn’t much to the controls either. Players can jump, attack and use magic. You can select different types of spells to cast. I initially stuck with a healing spell that came in handy when things got rough. It’ll be interesting to see all the different spells Alcedor can use at his disposal once Infernax releases later this year.
Like any Metroidvania-style game, expect a lot of backtracking. Especially after unlocking new abilities that will open new areas to travel to. It’s really a staple of the sub-genre and I expect Infernax to make use out of it to pad out content and keep players engaged.
Infernax Impression Round-Up & Release Date
As it stands, Infernax plays like a lot of other pixelated Metroidvania titles. However, its gory presentation, side quests, and the simple, yet effective, leveling system might do enough to differentiate it from the pack. Time will tell how Duke Alcedor will reverse the evil spell that brought ruin upon his town.
Infernax will hit PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on February 14, 2022. Be sure to wishlist the game on Steam if it piques your interest.